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PEOPLE

Building the Right Mindsets

The position of CFOs is fast evolving, with their roles becoming far more oriented around leadership and strategy. This, combined with the introduction of technologies such as AI, ML and advanced data analytics, is causing a shift in the CFO's mindset. There is today a renewed focus on what matters most: survival, productivity and growth. However, taking on a strategic role requires not just a broad skillset, but also the right mindset – one that is centred around continuous learning, agility and growth. Vinit Teredesai, the CFO of Mindtree, strongly believes that it is the mandate of every CFO to support the CEO and senior management in all facets of their mission, including growth. He believes that three aspects have been instrumental in making him who he is today: an understanding of and appreciation for the business beyond the job remit; agility and nimbleness; and a learning mindset.



INSIGHT

FARM LAWS

Many have argued that the repealing of the three farm laws has been a political masterstroke. Analysts suggest that this should have a positive outcome for the BJP in state elections, specifically in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Whilst it is hard to say if this is indeed the case, what cannot be disputed is the fact that the Government’s submission to vested interests has undermined its standing and the credibility of the reform programme. Agriculture reforms were a necessity to prop economic output. This primary segment has been a drag for several decades, with rates of growth varying between 1.5% and 3% per annum. For one, it lacks productivity and more importantly, the support of the Services and Logistics sector to enhance delivery of farm produce.


Business Performance and Confidence

IMA's Q3FY22 Business Confidence and Performance Index (BCPI) hit a multi-year high in October. Run every quarter for over a decade, the BCPI has proven to be a strong lead indicator of growth.




Tracking Inflation: Recent Trends and the Way Ahead

India’s two main measures of inflation – the CPI (consumer) and WPI (wholesale) price indices – inform policymaking and are tracked by all stakeholders, including households and businesses. Historically, consumer prices tended to outpace wholesale ones but they have stabilised in the last few years. WPI inflation, though, has lately been volatile and has surged past the CPI. What explains this divergence and what might be expected going forward? This paper looks at the factors that drive the two indices and seeks to explain recent trends.


AUKUS

Australia has for several years, despite its role as an important American ally in the Indo Pacific, balanced its trade relationship with China. Chinese imports of Australian coal and iron-ore, together with Australian wines, constitute vital ingredients of the trade relationship with significant economic considerations. But, more recently, as the intensity of confrontation between the United States and China escalated, all sides have begun to harden their positions. A few weeks ago, three countries with strategic commitments to Asia signed a military alliance – AUKUS.


Dedicated Freight Corridors: Unshackling Potential

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) was set up under the Ministry of Railways to establish a high speed, high-capacity infrastructure for railway movement in India. Starting with the Eastern and Western railway lines, the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) programme expects eventually to cover large swathes of the country. After many initial delays there is now, at last, some light at the end of the tunnel with the first two corridors approaching completion. By all accounts, they should be ready by June 2022, ushering in a new era of improved logistics and a much-enhanced role for rail freight and associated services in the Indian economy.




Think Tank

Attrition Trends: 2021-22

In October 2021, IMA conducted a survey on the issue of attrition, across companies spanning a wide gamut of industries. At a recent session of the India CHRO Forum, we presented the headline results of the survey and also used the opportunity to receive perspectives from our members. This paper captures some of the key takeaways of these discussions.




Insolvency Resolution: The IBC Story So Far and the Way Forward

V Ranganathan, Independent Director
The rollout of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in 2016 brought a gust of optimism for lenders. Five years later, laments about low recovery rates, high liquidation percentages and lengthy delays are common. The latest data indicate that, as of June 2021, the recovery rate in 396 cases where a resolution plan was approved was just 33%. Out of 2,850 closed cases, 47% went into liquidation. Further, 75% of ongoing cases have crossed the 270-day limit set by the IBC for completing the resolution process. Proponents of the new law, however, continue to believe that things will get better with time. What are some urgent steps that must be taken to strengthen the process? What are some pivotal milestones expected over the next few years? At a recent webinar of the India CFO Forum, we invited V Ranganathan, who serves as an Independent Director in four public companies, and who has over 40 years of variegated experience in corporate governance, to provide a view on these issues.


Production-Linked Incentives: A Game-Changer For Indian Manufacturing?

SK Marwaha, Senior Director, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India
Ranking high on the government’s agenda, electronics manufacturing in India has grown 2.5x in the last 5 years. To help build up India as a global hub for electronics manufacturing, the Centre last year established a sector-specific production-linked incentive scheme (PLI) scheme. What does the scheme entail and how has it performed so far? What is the outlook as the PLI is extended to other sectors? At a recent session of the India CEO Forum, SK Marwaha, Senior Director, Ministry of Electronics and IT, provided a ground-level view of the different schemes launched by the Government and their progress so far. This paper highlights the main takeaways from the session.


Achieving More with Less: The New Leadership Mandate

Armstrong Pame, IAS Officer and District Magistrate, Manipur
Popularly known as the ‘Miracle Man’, IAS officer Armstrong Pame first shot to fame in 2012, when he managed to construct a 100-kilometre road in Manipur, without support from the government. This initiative propelled him to fame and he was nominated for the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award in the Public Service Category. Last year, as DM of Manipur’s Tamenglong District, he turned his attention to helping his resource-deprived region cope with Covid-19. Armstrong’s experiences carry valuable lessons in people management and human motivation, which lend themselves to all kinds of contexts, including business. At a recent webinar of the India CHRO Forum, he shared his learnings and experiences.


Covid-19 and the Way Forward: An Epidemiologist’s View

Dr Prabhat Jha, University of Toronto Chair in Disease Control and Founding Director, Centre for Global Health Research, St Michael’s Hospital
India’s fierce second wave of Covid-19 infections in mid-2021 instilled fears about a third wave. Compared to the first wave, which peaked in mid-to-late 2020 and was mostly an urban phenomenon, the second affected rural areas equally. Looking ahead, India will need to be better prepared for future outbreaks, including by ramping up its vaccination drive and by leveraging the available data on infections, particularly among the vaccinated. At a recent all-Forum webinar, epidemiologist Dr Prabhat Jha, of the University of Toronto, took stock of India’s present situation and the strategies it should adopt going forward.


Asia Macroeconomic Update: Growth and Policy Outlook

Richard Martin, Managing Director, IMA Asia
Globally and in Asia, economic growth is reviving and stock markets are surging. 55% of S&P 500 shares have a net ‘buy’ recommendation, while in Europe, the gap between ‘buy’ and ‘sell calls is at a 12-year high. Yet there are also major challenges ahead, most obviously the Delta variant of Covid-19, which has triggered a third global wave. Rising economic nationalism, heightened geopolitical risks and major supply-chain disruptions are key issues. Together, these factors are spurring a new bout of reshoring and near-shoring and causing organisations to restructure. However, globalisation remains a potent force, driven by the logic of trade and unfettered capital flows. At a recent webinar of the India CEO Forum, Richard Martin, Managing Director of IMA Asia, took stock of Asia’s medium-term growth prospects.


Navigating the Indian Policy Making Maze: Lessons from Start-ups

Rameesh Kailasam, President and CEO, IndiaTech.org
While India has improved its regulatory environment in recent years, business must still navigate substantial obstacles: bureaucratic red-tape and apathy, a legacy of old-fashioned thinking and susceptibility to political influence. Equally, critics would argue, the manner in which Indian industry has lobbied for regulatory ‘favours’ in the past has left much to be desired. Over the years, this has resulted in a degree of mutual suspicion and mistrust between the two sets of stakeholders. Regrettably, ‘policy advocacy’ has come to acquire a negative connotation. India’s start-up boom is, however, changing the way business operates in the country and offering new ways for industry and government to collaborate towards mutually-beneficial goals.


Realms of profitability in the era of start-ups and cash burn

Chirag Mavani, Chief Financial Officer, The Souled Store
As more and more start-ups successfully raise funds around an ecosystem built on growth over profitability, which in essence is driven by a ‘burn rate’ phenomenon, it is essential to decipher the nature of such a cash burn and understand the realms of profitability and growth along with their significance.